Sunday, February 15, 2015

Staying True

Footprints ©T Grillo Laird - oil 18x24 -sold

Here is a painting I completed a few weeks ago. It's popularity since I posted it, has surprised me. The first surprise was when it sold the morning after I posted it. I then posted it on an artist's site and was taken by surprise again by how well it has been received. 

I tried to analyze it. Is it the title? The colors? The mood? The paint? Then it occurred to me that in painting it, I held true to the working method that for me seems to produce results closest to what I was aiming for. Ignoring all conventional wisdom and restrictive rules about how outdoor painting is practiced, I just painted in the way I've done outdoor paintings for the past 20 years. I took my 18x24 canvas out to the dunes near my house and looked and painted. When the light changed, I packed up and took it out again the next day. And the day after that. One day I didn't like the results and scraped it all down just to begin again on my next session in the dunes. When I was finished I took it home and studied it. I made a few adjustments where a line was too strong or a spot in the background wasn't receding enough. I studied it some more then called it done. Of course no painting is ever done. It's just brought to a point where it can be left alone.

I do enjoy painting those loose sketchy paintings that I start and finish in one two hour session on site. The results are often fresh and unexpected, but most of the time I'm left wishing I had developed an idea a bit further.

I think that when I manage to shut out all the clamorous voices telling me how I must paint, and I listen to my own inner voice, I am again the happy serene painter I started out as when I was a young child.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What Is the Point ?

Shoreline Curve - ©T Grillo Laird - 14x18 oil
click here for inquires

In the four years that the Bagdad, Florida Annual Paintout has been going on, I've participated three times. In the first year of the fledgling event, I received third place for Bagdad Boathouse. My goal that day had been merely to finish within the allotted 3 hours, since I was participating in my first ever paint-out. Naturally, I was delighted with the win.

This past November, in the re-named re-vamped Bagdad/Milton Plein Air Paint-out, I won second place for Shoreline Curve. I've learned to paint faster in the years between the two events. I can now finish a plein air painting in about two hours. Of course a very valid argument can be made that speed often has little to do with quality, but that's a debate for another day.

Though I was pleased with the win, I was not happy with the painting. I knew that a tree trunk I had painted into the scene was not working, and I was out of time to fix it. I prayed that the painting would not sell during the month long exhibition, and fortunately it didn't.

The offending trunk has been painted out and the painting is much better for it. The moral of this little tale is to always remember to not stupidly paint something in just because it's there. Edit, edit, and edit has to be the first rule of painting outdoors- And indoors for that matter.

May I never fall into the trap of refusing, just for the sake of "plein air purity", to alter a painting that isn't working. When they work, and many do, I'm grateful. When they don't, I'll continue to feel entirely free to fix them. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...